Subject-Verb Agreement in Engish and Romanian

Topics: Grammatical number, Verb, Pronoun Pages: 6 (1784 words) Published: December 8, 2012
Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that states that the verb must agree in number with its subject. In other words, they both must be singular or they both must be plural. You can’t have a singular subject with a plural verb or vice versa. The tricky part is in knowing the singular and plural forms of subjects and verbs. Singular and plural subjects, or nouns, are usually pretty easy. In most cases the plural form of a noun has an “s” at the end. Ex: Car – singular ;Cars – plural

Verbs don’t follow this pattern, though. Adding an “s” to a verb doesn’t make a plural. Ex: Walk – plural, singular; Walks – 3rd person singular. The basic principle of subject-verb agreement is : Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs.  Ex: My brother is a nutritionist. My sisters are mathematicians. Further I would try to make the difference between two systems of subject-verb agreement in two languages, English and Romanian. First of all I would like to analyze some peculiarities of the subject- verb agreement in English language. This system is based on the general rule that singular subjects need singular verbs and plural subjects need plural verbs. Still there are some rules for building such constructions to which I have to pay attention. 1. The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require singular verbs. Ex: Everyone has done his or her homework.

Ex: Somebody has left her purse.
It’s worth paying attention that some indefinite pronouns — such as all, some — are singular or plural depending on what they're referring to. Ex: Some of the beads are missing.
Ex: Some of the water is gone.
On the other hand, there is one indefinite pronoun, none, that can be either singular or plural; it often doesn't matter whether you use a singular or a plural verb — unless something else in the sentence determines its number. Writers generally think of none as meaning not any and will choose a plural verb. Ex: None of the engines are working.

But when something else makes us regard none as meaning not one, we want a singular verb. Ex: None of the food is fresh.
2. Some indefinite pronouns are particularly troublesome. Everyone and everybody certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a prepositional phrase ending in a plural word (Each of the cars), thus confusing the verb choice. Each, too, is always singular and requires a singular verb. Ex: Everyone has finished his or her homework.

Ex: Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library. 3. Phrases such as together with, as well as, and along with are not the same as and. The phrase introduced by as well as or along with will modify the earlier word, but it does not compound the subjects, as the word and would do. Ex: The mayor as well as his brothers is going to prison. * The mayor and his brothers are going to jail.

4. The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things. * Neither of the two traffic lights is working.

* Which shirt do you want for Christmas?
Either is fine with me.
In informal writing, neither and either sometimes take a plural verb when these pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is particularly true of interrogative constructions. Ex: Have either of you two clowns read the assignment?

5. The conjunction or does not conjoin, as and does. When nor or or is used the subject closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter, the proximity determines the number. Ex: Either my father or my brothers are going to sell the house. Ex: Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the...
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